Toledo Institute of Technology prepares for electric vehicle education

GM plans to invest $760 million in electrical manufacturing, and the school wants to ensure its students have access to the ground floor.

TOLEDO, Ohio — General Motors announced Friday that it will invest $760 million in its Toledo Propulsion Systems plant on Alexis Road to produce drives for electric vehicles.

The goal is to put Toledo on the road to the future of electric vehicle manufacturing.

Local trade schools, like the Toledo Institute of Engineering and Technology, are adapting to help prepare students for emerging industries.

While the school’s electric car club goes back 20 years, now more than ever they are emphasizing the technology and making sure their curriculum gives students hands-on learning to get off to a fast start in Toledo’s changing market, For example in the engineering and technology wing of the school.

Inside a large workshop, a group of busy seniors is fine-tuning their latest project: a robotic arm.

The school emphasizes preparing students for jobs in the fields of electronics and electrical manufacturing. Assistant Director David Volker said the mission of the school was to master the needs of the workforce of the future.

“It was a natural extension for us,” Volker said. “Having a well-trained workforce that doesn’t know anything about electric vehicles will make it even more important for us.”

This learning also occurs in other areas, such as the school’s automotive engineering club. Students are riding in gasoline-powered vehicles and retrofitting them with batteries. Senior Drew Baumgartner says this provides students like him with valuable hands-on experience in the field of electric vehicles.

“In a regular high school, you don’t get this, even half of it,” Baumgartner said.

The school recently received a $1.2 million federal grant dedicated to electric vehicle education. It will be used to transform an entire section of their building to focus on electric vehicle manufacturing. Senior Jacob Havlind won’t be at the academy when he’s ready, but says he’s excited about this new chapter anyway.

“It’s exciting that more children will learn about electric vehicles and how they work, and that awareness about electric vehicles will spread because they are the future,” Haflind said.

Walker said he expects the school’s new wing to open as early as 2024.

The academy also plans to do more EV programming as early as this year, with details to be revealed at the school’s open house on October 10. 6.

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